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As some insurers explore the wisdom of encouraging web chats and email for physician–patient communication, a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine supports the idea that text messages may bolster patient compliance with a physician’s directions. This particular metaanalysis considered 16 studies involving nearly 3,000 patients and showed an 18% increase in patient follow-through with appropriate medication use (from 50% to 68%). Increased adherence with medication regimens not only leads to better outcomes, but also reduces overall healthcare spending; between waste in the form of unused medications and poor outcomes that lead to more complex treatments, noncompliance with drug regimens is estimated to be at least $100 billion annually.

Follow-up Text Messages Raise Medication Compliance by 18%